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Do You Clench and Grind? Learn How We Can Help

Do you find you wake up in the morning with an aching jaw? Perhaps you have chronic headaches and facial pain? Maybe you have noticed your teeth are more sensitive than before, or that they have begun to look chipped or shorter than you remember? These could all be symptoms of clenching and grinding, a condition called bruxism and which generally occurs during sleep. As a result it can be difficult to prevent because the action is subconscious. It’s possible a sleeping partner may complain your tooth grinding is keeping them awake (it can be pretty noisy) or a check-up with our dentist in Downham Market can be sufficient to diagnose this problem. So why do people clench and grind?

Possible Causes of Bruxism

dentist in Downham MarketMost people will grind occasionally and this isn’t harmful, but regular clenching and grinding can be due to a number of different things. It is thought this habit is linked to stress and anxiety and reducing stress levels can sometimes help significantly. Other causes might include an abnormal bite, where your teeth do not meet or occlude together correctly, or some may be crooked. If this is the case we might suggest you investigate orthodontics in Downham Market.

It is important to get a proper evaluation for this problem as untreated clenching and grinding can place your teeth and gums under a significant amount of stress. This habit can also affect your jaw joints, called your temporomandibular joints, causing a condition called temporomandibular disorder, or TMD for short. TMD can be quite painful and this pain can radiate out, down into the neck and shoulders, or can spread upwards, causing tension headaches that don’t respond well to conventional treatment for migraines. Our dentist in Downham Market can examine your teeth and jaws to determine the cause.

Treating Bruxism

If we think your bruxism is due to your bite, then we can adjust your teeth. Treatment could be as simple as adjusting your bite through renewing old fillings or restorations such as crowns. Alternatively, orthodontics could help to realign your teeth. However quite often we can treat bruxism by providing you with a custom-made night guard. This is made from a tough, thermoplastic material and will usually fit over your upper teeth. All you need do is wear it while sleeping so your teeth cannot come into contact with each other. This could be sufficient to break the habit of bruxism.

A custom-made night guard is easily fabricated using an impression taken of your teeth. Your night guard will be made in our dental laboratory and you should find it very easy to use although initially it may take a bit of getting used to. It is a very straightforward and inexpensive way to treat this condition.

If you think you might have bruxism then we do suggest you get a proper diagnosis as soon as you can to minimise the damage to your teeth, gums and jaw joints. All you need do is book consultation at Downham Market Dental Care and you can contact us on 01366 382265.

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